Talking therapies guidance ‘ignored’

The NHS has made insufficent effort to adhere to mandatory clinical guidance requiring talking therapies to be offered to people with mental health problems, according to a report this week.

The study by five leading mental health charities is intended to be the start of a major campaign to increase investment and widen access to the therapies.

It calls for the 2004 National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence guidelines on offering therapies to be implemented “as a matter of urgency”, saying such a lapse would not be acceptable in any other area of health care. The charities are demanding a “large injection of cash” in next year’s comprehensive spending review to ensure that the supply of therapy can match demand.

And the group, consisting of the Mental Health Foundation, Mind, Rethink, Sainsbury Centre for Mental Health and Young Minds, calls for the government to support more research into the effectiveness of psychological therapy.

Mind chief executive Paul Farmer said: “We can’t let this go on for much longer; it’s time to act. These treatments need to be made available to people as a matter of right.”

Meanwhile, a government scheme to test the use of talking therapies for people with mental health problems saw 1,000 clients in its first three months of operation, according to new figures.

The Doncaster pilot site for the Improving Access to Psychological Therapies project, which was launched in May, is now taking on up to 100 clients a week.

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